Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year In Review

2014 was awesome. Our little boy did so much growing and so did our family. I feel like Ford did a 180 and changed SO much throughout the year and I know 2015 will be just as fun watching him grow and learn and become a little boy! It's hard to believe that in LESS than 4 months we will welcome a baby girl into our family, I am still blown away that I get to do this baby thing again. 2015 will bring so much change, probably tons of sleepless nights and chaos, and so much excitement. Below is a video that Iconogram sent me, highlighting my most popular posts on Instagram from the past year. Talk about frog in my throat emotional. I remember 2013's video showed my most liked photo as Ford's first picture and this year it was our baby girl announcement. 2014 has kept me busy and my blog might have taken a backseat but I wouldn't change the toddler chasing, endless amounts of laundry, 6am wake up calls for anything!


Here are a few highlights of our year!

January
Shared my New Year's Resolutions
I wrote a post about surviving a traveling husband with a baby
Ford had his first taste of food

February
Jon and I celebrated 3 years of marriage
We took our first international family trip to Cabo and went whale watching
Ford turned 1/2 a year old
We took the most adorable Valentine's Day pictures of our heartbreaker
I shared my baby food making routine 
I chopped my hair off
Ford, Mimi, and I traveled to Liberty, MO to spend a few days with my grandparents

March
I wrote a post with tips for visiting a new mom
Ford got his first haircut
My heart was changed at the Hope Spoken conference

April
Jon turned 31 and we took some pretty hilarious pictures
I shared my baby registry must haves
We took bluebonnet pictures of our blue eyed boy
Traveled to Chicago to visit family
Ford took his first trip to Mimi and Papa's lakehouse
We celebrated Easter as a family of 3

May
I talked about how important it is to "do motherhood" in community
Shared my perspective on priorities as a Christian woman
Celebrated my first Mother's Day
Shared a day in the life of a mama and 9 month old

June
Ford got another haircut that I had to document
Talked about Jon and my love for games
Jon's first Father's Day
Wrote about how to workout at home with babies
We started using Young Living Essential Oils
Launched MOMquery

July
Spent 4th of July in South Padre Island with family and friends
Lost an incredible young man and dear family friend so I shared my heart on loss and suffering
Stopped nursing Ford 
Tried my hand at chalk paint and did an Ikea hack

August
Traveled to Charleston, SC for a friend's wedding
Ford turned one! 
Ford's 12 month update
Made a video of Ford's first year
Threw Ford's first birthday party
Left Ford at night to go out for the first time in a year

September
Labor Day at the lake
All 3 of us got the dreaded tummy bug
Jon and I spent our first weekend away from Ford in NYC

October
Visited Sweet Berry Farms
I turned 26
We spent the night, sans Ford, in downtown Austin celebrating my birthday
Announced that we are pregnant
Hosted our 3rd annual Halloween Hootenanny
Ford and I met my sister and niece, Embry, in Waco for an overnight trip
Went to our neighborhood's Trunk or Treat
I chopped off my hair again
Carved pumpkins
Celebrated Halloween with our neighbors 

November
It's a girl
Visited family in Chicago
Celebrated Thanksgiving here in Austin with family

December
Visited Santa...you can guess how that went
Shared our baby girl's name
Celebrated Ford's 2nd Christmas

I just finished our family year book (I use My Publisher) and can't wait to order it! I hope that your hear was full and successful, happy 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas 2014

I have been putting off writing this post in hopes that by doing that, the Christmas season would hang around. How depressing to tune into our two favorite Christmas radio stations on the 26th and no more Christmas tunes :(. This season was extra special because Ford was absolutely obsessed with everything Christmas. Trees, lights, gifts, treats, presents. I can't imagine how much more fun he will get as the years go on. This Christmas was also really relaxing. Last year our little 4 month old chunk had bronchitis and Jon and I had ear/sinus infections so that just stunk. Today Ford is battling a nasty cold and cough but we managed to get through Christmas healthy! Major blessing. My Christmas shopping was done on time and there was no stress in our house leading up to Christmas. We were able to enjoy the Advent season and prepare our hearts and focus on the celebration of Christ's birth.

My handsome Christmas boy (wearing a handmade sweater from his great aunt)



Christmas Eve we started our own little family tradition since my other family members were doing their own thing and we woke up to do presents and stockings from mom and dad with Ford. He got a soccer goal and ball from us and lots of art stuff in his stocking. He is still really young to understand gifts (and most of the time just wants to play with paper and boxes) so we did things very minimal... can't say the same of Ford's mimi, papa, aunts, and uncles who spoiled him! We went to a little hole in the wall Mexican food restaurant by our house where we witnessed a Christmas miracle... Ford gobbled up tons of grilled chicken. My baby who refuses all meat with the exception of turkey hot dogs. We watched Miracle on 34th Street by the fire and decided to go visit the mall by our church before service just to see the lights and Santa. Our Christmas Eve service was incredible and our pastor talked about the struggle Mary faced as a young mother who watched her son be sacrificed for all man kind. I love a twist on the general Christmas story, something I can take with me after Christmas and spend time reflecting on and growing with. We had a pizza party at Mimi and Papa's on Christmas Eve, watched Four Christmases and were in bed by 10pm! Another Christmas miracle, Ford slept until almost 8am on Christmas morning. Please do that on New Years Day buddy...





Christmas morning was great. We leisurely opened presents, had breakfast, talked to family, dozed off for a few, played games, played outside. It was perfect. I will let the pictures do the story telling.














I hope your Christmas was as restful as ours!  


Monday, December 22, 2014

Getting pregnant, the second time around

I had great intentions of sharing every step of our pregnancy with Lucy but you know, a certain toddler has been taking up a lot of my time! I finally got the chance to sit down and write how we got pregnant with her and how different it was than getting pregnant with Ford and it is posted over on MOMquery today. Continue reading...


Sunday, December 21, 2014

All you can eat date night

This was the second weekend in a row we packed up Ford and sent him off to his mimi and papa's so we could have a night out. I posted a picture on Instagram saying that we were so much cooler now that we have babies and that is the truth y'all! Something about parenting as a team makes you really value that time as husband and wife, away from the kids, away from the chaos, and away from being mommy and daddy. Depending on the season, time away can be few and far between but oh how sweet it is! I was just telling someone yesterday the best thing we did for our marriage is put Ford in his own room and instate an early bedtime so we could have "us" time. Even though we are blessed by lots of family and friends who love babysitting our wild man, I never feel like we are lacking "date nights" because come 7:31pm when Ford is peacefully snoozing upstairs for the next 12 hours, we bust out games or movies, make dinner and eat it in peace, and have our own little at home date night. It is such a weird thing being out and about without your kids. You are so much more aware of the families you see...sometimes I want to go up to them and exclaim, "I have a cute baby at home!" and sometimes I think to myself, "why the heck would you bring your preschooler and toddler to a fancy steakhouse. Okay I am rambling.

But this weekend we finally got to celebrate Father's Day with the tickets I bought for Jon to see The Black Keys! Yeah! I scored cheap presale tickets back in June and never thought the day would come that we would finally be going to the show (I do remember thinking...we can leave Ford overnight in December..eek!). I wanted Friday to be special for Jon, to celebrate him as a father but also celebrate him as a wonderful provider for our family. His year is coming to a close and not a day goes by that I am not in awe of the talents God has given him to be successful in almost anything he tries. Is that enough sap for ya? Jon loves music so concert tickets...check....and Jon loves meat. We had the pleasure of dining at Estancia Churrascaria on Friday before the concert, a beautiful Brazilian steakhouse in Austin that offers 15 of the most decadent and delicious meats, an immaculate salad bar, and authentic Brazilian side dishes. It is basically a carnivore's carnival. We had been to Estancia one time before, actually it was the day we found out Ford was a boy, and we were giddy excited to return and fill our bellies with red meat and fried polenta. Never been been to a Brazilian steakhouse? You are missing out! Men walk around with fresh, piping hot meat and cut it to your liking right at your table. You have little cards on your table (one side red, one side green) to let them know you want more meat or are taking a break. I can just taste the filet melting in my mouth!






Not only is the food heavenly but the staff treats every patron like a king. Managers are constantly on the move, asking if there is a certain cut of meat you'd like, more sides, more drinks, how is our meal, etc. The atmosphere was bustling with Christmas parties and celebrations yet it felt intimate at our table. Estancia is open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, and New Years Day if you are looking for somewhere to celebrate!

Find Estancia Churrascaria

Giveaway
One lucky reader will receive a free dinner voucher at Estancia Churrascaria, a $50 value! 
(Austin readers only)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Happenings

If I am being 100% honest, I haven't had the motivation or desire to blog this week. I recycled some old posts earlier this week just to keep things moving but writing has been low on my list, and I am okay with that! If you are a writer you can definitely agree with not having the urge to write every once in a while and if you are a mom, you understand that as seasons come and go, your time is abundant or limited. I've gone through seasons where I don't want to write because things are just blah but right now the case is opposite. Things are good. I think we are transitioning to one nap with Ford this week which bumps my computer time to his 1pm nap or after he's down but with Christmas right around the corner (and baking a baby), other things have taken precedence. The biggest reason for my lack of writing is that I am just really enjoying time with Ford these days. I have a swarm of topics to write about floating around in my head (toddler stuff, pregnancy stuff, Christmas stuff), but writing it down is a different story. Today is cold and rainy but earlier this week we had 2 days of beautiful 70 degree sun and I ripped up my to-do list to spend almost the entire day with Ford outside. As cliche as it sounds, once I hit 20 weeks pregnant last week, things started getting real. We will meet our baby girl in about 18 weeks and I want to soak in every day and minute I can where my attention can be undivided on Ford. He loves playing at the park...although he is very cautious and spends most of his time climbing to the highest point of the play structure and climbing back down. And repeat. He loves kicking the soccer ball outside and collecting treasures on our walks. He points out the dogs, trees, birds, Christmas decorations, and cars as we walk through the neighborhood. He's absolutely obsessed with hugging, riding, and mounting Ernie.... poor dogs with toddlers, they are troopers. We've been spending our evenings driving through our neighborhood looking at "tee tee" (Christmas lights) and last night I told Jon that watching Ford smile and squeal at the lights is a parenting top 5. Ford loves being "helpful" lately so my chores have been taking twice as long but it is three times as fun watching him hand me plastic plates from the dishwasher and diapers off the drying rack so I can fold. We have all of our Christmas cards hanging in our entry way and Ford recognizes certain people and says hello to them multiple times a day. I really do think we will have some major withdrawls when the Christmas season comes to a close.

Jon and I have also gotten to spend lots of time together (alone!) lately and that has been wonderful. Maybe I should feel bad leaving my baby so often but we are blessed with family nearby who begs to watch him and we've been taking full advantage of that. We left him overnight last weekend to attend some Christmas parties and tomorrow we are leaving him again to go to dinner and The Black Keys concert. I feel like a cool mom and I kinda like it.

All in all, my heart is so full this season and I am eager to celebrate Christmas with my little family next week. You may not see new posts too often here on my blog for the next couple of weeks but I am sure I will come back with a bang in the New Year. Instagram has become my diary of late so be sure to follow me there.

I also have been working on my new embroidery machine! #monogramallthings




A neighbor's house that has won Best Overall Decor the pat 2 years, Ford was in heaven


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cream Cheese Banana Bread

I love keeping bananas in the house not only to snack on but for banana bread and muffins when they get a little soft. After I've given Ford eggs and yogurt in the morning, I let him munch on bread (and it makes the perfect afternoon snack for me!). Even though I am a major supporter of this banana bread recipe, I love trying new ones. I mean, when there is cream cheese involved, we know it's gonna be good! Jon and I could have easily eaten an entire loaf in one sitting. There was something different about this bread, the crust tasted like it was baked or dusted with sugar, like bakery muffins usually are. Wow!

Ingredients- makes 2 loafs
3/4 cup melted butter
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 medium bananas, mashed
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*Optional, 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1. Mix together all ingredients and stir thoroughly until fully combined (a hand mixer comes in handy)
2. Pour batter into 2 greased loaf pans
3. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour
4. Enjoy!
Original Recipe




Tuesday, December 16, 2014

5 reasons not to be afraid of C sections

This is a post I wrote for MOMquery last month and wanted to share here on my personal blog. A c section is usually no one's Plan A, it sure as heck wasn't mine, but I embrace my birth story and don't want mamas to be to be afraid of them! P.S. Are you following MOMquery on Facebook?

1. They are safe

Modern medicine continues to blow me away. Embryos and sperm and united in petri dishes and carried by surrogates. We have the ability to see babies in 4D and fight over whose nose he has. And hearts are transplanted from one body to another. Incredible. Medicine has come such a long way and I am so confident in the knowledge and practices of today's doctors, especially the one I carefully researched and chose. These doctors know what they are doing, this is their job. Just like as a full time mommy I feel like I could change a diaper or make a cheese quesadilla in my sleep, doctors perform C sections every day and continue to advance their skills and abilities. Anesthesia won't damage your baby's brain, come on, Ford turned out fine. An epidural won't kill ya, millions of women get them every year. Thank you God for modern medicine!

2. They are quick

Labor is called labor for a reason, it is work! My first delivery started with a long, painful induction and ended in a full surgery cesarean. It definitely wasn't your traditional birth story. So yes there are times when a C section comes after a grueling 24 hour labor but the actual surgery is quick. My baby was out within 2 minutes of being wheeled into the OR. It seems like a dream knowing that this next baby I am carrying will be born without labor, without a contraction, without the anxiety of thinking of pushing something out of my lady bits. I will show up and an hour later meet my baby. Is this real life?

3. You will feel normal again

Just because a C section is quick, does not mean it comes without pain. Now I've never experienced a vaginal delivery but the recovery from a C section is rough. It's the one time in your life where you experience MAJOR surgery and are immediately required to be up around the clock feeding, changing, getting acquainted with this strange little human that just came out of you. There is not a grace period with C sections, you have to jump right back into motherhood. I remember telling people that I could totally deal with the sleep deprivation, it was the C section recovery that had me in tears every night. It took me 5 minutes just to get out of bed in the mornings and I hobbled hunchback around my house. But then the 3 week mark hit and I felt like a human again. Each day after that I regained strength and muscle memory and my spirits sky rocketed knowing I wouldn't forever feel like my insides had been ripped apart. It gives me the chills to think back to those first few days post surgery but I am reminded how incredible the human body is at repairing and recovering. Besides my incision scar, I can honestly say it feels like it never happened.

4. No damage to your lady parts

Do I have to go into detail? Ha! I mean, a C section is no one's plan A but I spent a lot of time finding green pastures in the middle of a traumatic and painful part of my life. I don't suddenly pee my pants when I jump up and down or feel where stitches used to be while being intimate with my husband. Sure I get numb around my incision occasionally (what a weird sensation) but I am proud to say that my lady parts experienced no trauma, tearing, or damage while delivering. That's good for something, right?!

5. You were made for this

One of the most discouraging things I heard post emergency C section was women apologizing to me that I had to have one and that I didn't get to experience "real" birth. First my uterus was cut open and a baby ripped out, now my heart was ripped out. Ouch. I feel so blessed to live in a time where I lived through the birth of my son. 50, 100 years ago, I don't think that would have been the case. The female body was made to grow and birth a baby and that is exactly what I did. I don't feel like I missed out on anything because I didn't pop a baby out through my vagina and I sure as heck don't feel like less of a woman for it. I actually feel like a gladiator. I did it! I never even thought my barely 5 foot framed body could carry a baby full term, let alone overdue. No matter how the baby comes out, we did it! What a feat!


Friday, December 12, 2014

Emma Joy Designs {giveaway}

The internet can be a scary place but it can also be oh so wonderful. Never did I think I would meet people via the world wide web that I would call my dearest friends. Friends that text me when their water breaks, friends that text me asking for prayers when they are fed up with their teething toddlers, and friends who love on me and my family. I had someone comment last Christmas on how many Christmas cards I had pinned up in my house and I would guess that at least half were internet friends. What a joy it has been to build true community and friendship on the web. One of the ladies who has been a rock in my life for a few years now is Liz, mama to Emma Joy, NICU survivor, former teacher, children's ministry leader, and now turned printable shop owner! Liz started creating chalkboard prints for birthdays and has expanded her shop, Emma Joy Designs, into custom invitations, printables, and more. Our little girls share the same precious middle name too. Liz knew that the second I found out I was having a baby girl, she would be Lucy Joy. 


She crafted this adorable and fun print for us to remember my pregnancy with our little lady!


Chalkboard prints are becoming super popular for first birthdays (and beyond!), I still have Ford's chalkboard printable hanging out upstairs in the gameroom! These printables are such a sweet way to commemerate and remember the joy, struggle, and fun of the first year of your little one's life. No need to limit the prints to a first birthday either! At only $12, Liz has made it easy for you to create this custom gift and party decoration for your little one.

Here are a few other popular prints in her shop.





Find Emma Joy Designs

Use code RUTHIE10 for 10% off you order! Just mention on Instagram that I sent you! Good until 12/19

Last day to order for Christmas delivery is tomorrow, 12/13.

Giveaway
One lucky reader will receive a custom Emma Joy Designs print or chalkboard print!

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ford 16 months

Ford is 16 months and more fun than ever! Earlier this week I took him with me to my doctor's appointment and he was walking around the waiting room waving and saying "hi" to other ladies and I thought to myself.... how the heck did I get so lucky with such an adorable baby?! This month has brought so many new words and milestones...forgive me if this post gets long but I want to remember how much fun Ford is at 16 months!

*These days monthly pictures are taken with my iphone with 5 seconds of prep time haha




New this month:

  • Got his flu shot booster this morning and weighed 27lbs with a diaper and onesie on, my guess is 26.5lbs naked. 
  • Absolutely obsessed with Christmas trees, Christmas lights, wreaths, outdoor decorations... it is so stinkin' cute. He calls it all "tee tee" (Christmas tree) and the first thing he does when he wakes up is walk over to our 2 trees and try to turn them on.
  • Also loves having a fire in the fire place, calls it "Ffffff" and "hottttt".
  • He had a nasty double ear infection and high fever over Thanksgiving that resulted in Roseola. Luckily he loved his "candy" antibiotic and I am hoping he is healthy for the rest of the year.
  • He saw Santa on Black Friday and hated it, call me a mean mom but the pictures are priceless.
  • Getting pickier by the day. I think I can count the things he does eat on 2 hands (cheese sticks, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, yogurt, fruit, turkey hot dogs, pouches, and of course any kind of carb). He drinks about 20oz of whole milk a day.
  • Despite his pickiness, it is nice that he can ask for what he wants. Milk, water, hot dog, cheese, banana, egg, snack. If I offer him something that he doesn't want he says "no!" and if I ask him if he would like an XYZ and he does, he responds "yeah!". Makes life a lot easier!
  • We now have full conversations with Ford and it is really funny. He loves when we ask him questions or give him tasks. He is becoming pretty helpful and will bring things to mommy/daddy, help clean up, go get a diaper, throw something away, go to the bath, etc.
  • Like I said above, he loves being helpful. I've caught him in the kitchen a few times with the mini broom and dustpan sweeping the floors. He also loves using this big scrub brush on the tile floors haha.
  • Likes playing "stir stir" while I am cooking in the kitchen. I give him mixing bowls and utensils and he cooks on his own.
  • Fake coughs and fake laughs when others do. He also copies a lot of our actions, especially at the table. If I lick my finger or scratch my face, he will too. 
  • Obsessed with taking showers and has the time of his life in there.
  • Also obsessed with chapstick and knows where I keep it in the drawer. He finds it and smiles and brings it to me to put it on to him and then kisses his lips. 
  • We went on errands as a family a couple of weeks ago and while I was shopping at TJ Maxx, Jon took Ford to go smell some candles. Well... that is now one of his favorite pastimes. He talked us in to buying 3 Bath and Body Works candles last weekend and walks around holding them and smelling them.
  • Kisses! I think I get over 100 kisses from him a day and it is the sweetest thing ever. He even makes the kissing nose. I love this boy!
  • We officially stopped swim class this month. Ford did great over the summer and into the fall but has really digressed and it has been rough. He has a blast when we get there playing and splashing around but once we make him go under, it is a nightmare and he cries the rest of the time. I feel like it is my job as his mom to make sure he is having fun and this was definitely not the case. He is so young and it is the middle of winter so we are taking a break and going to start back up in June. We are going to start gym class in the new year!
  • I think we are transitioning to one nap... every day is a new day but that's been the norm this week.
  • He loves going to bed and gets excited to be in his crib. We always ask him to go turn on his sound machine and a couple of weeks ago we noticed he was stepping on it (it sits on the floor). I originally told him "no no Ford!" but then realized he was mocking what me and Jon do...we turn on his sound machine with our feet. Such a little sponge! He loves reading books before bed and has been obsessed with a Little People Noah's Ark flap book we have. Bed at 7:30 and sleeps til 7-8am straight.
  • Loves my Young Living essential oils. He asks for "oye oye" and goes and gets the box in our bathroom. Jon was sick earlier this week and Ford would run and get the oils and point to his chest for Jon.
  • He got an early Christmas present last week... a Black and Decker tool bench! It is the cutest thing I've ever seen and he loves that his drill is the same one as daddy. He goes around and fixes things in the house.
  • I think he is going to be an engineer when he grows up. He loves switches and lights and turning things on and off. It is so neat to watch your baby learn and grow and excel at something.
  • He knows so many animal sounds and recognizes animals when we read books
Videos:




Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Baby #2, weeks 18-19

Today I am 19 weeks 3 days pregnant. Wowzas! Because she will be born a week early (I will write a post on that later), we are halfway done with this pregnancy. Gulp. I felt like my pregnancy with Ford drug on because I was so focused on him and anxious about becoming a mom but this pregnancy is a little different. I think I write this in all of my updates but some days I don't know what week I am at and am only reminded that I am pregnant when I try to look at my feet and they've disappeared. I can't believe I am already to that point in my pregnancy! We announced her name yesterday, here's the post if you missed it. And here is the 19 week belly.



Sidenote: I am completely obsessed with my new Aztec cardigan from Jane.com. It is perfect for dressing my growing tummy over maternity shirts or tanks. And Aztec is in! At less than $20, this was a steal. If you haven't ventured into the world of Jane.com yet, you are missing out. Each day they post tons of new boutique/etsy type products (clothing, jewelry, housewares, children's stuff) at a fraction of the cost. I am eyeing these baby moccs for our little lady! Find Jane.com on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Back to baby girl....

I went to the doctor yesterday and everything is great! I told the doctor I feel like I am a LOT smaller than I was with Ford and sure enough, I have only gained about 6lbs as opposed to 11lbs with Ford. I have felt her move about 3 times but since my placenta is anterior, I knew it would be later than I did with Ford...totally normal. I even found her heartbeat with my doppler on Sunday! My doctor did a quick ultrasound just to measure her growth and sure enough, she is right on track....even measuring ahead in head size! Typical of my babies. She was so active and so much bigger than when we saw her a month ago! She weighs 12oz now and we got a clear shot of her lady bits. Ford was carrying around the sonogram pictures saying "baby! baby!". Pretty darn cute. My next appointment is the second week of January and it is our anatomy scan (45 minute sonogram by a sonographer, not my doctor, where they measure every single body part/etc. Some of it is in 3D too!).




I am still sick but actually feel really good! I take half a Zofran pill in the morning and the other half at night. If I skip either one, I will yack, so I take it religiously. Even though I am smaller than before, I am growing a lot and have had lots of round ligament pain the past week. Also my back has been bothering more than usual but I can't complain. I am still attempting to squeeze into my non maternity pants but the rubberband trick isn't working so well these days.

We've picked a paint color for the nursery and it will be painted the first week in January. I've been doing some shopping and boy is it fun! I received my embroidery machine last week and have a stack of onesies I want to practice on. Lucy will have lots of monogrammed clothing!

Overall I feel really great, I am enjoying this trimester and really enjoying the holiday season. We have her stocking hanging up next to Ford's and it is hard to believe she will be 8 months next Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Her name


We are so excited to announce our daughters name. Lucy Joy Hart is already so loved and we cannot wait for her to join our family in a little over 4 months (she will go by Lucy, Joy is her middle name). We decided to keep Ford's name a secret until the day he was born and it was fun and thrilling but also hard! We told our family his first name and kept everyone else in the dark. This time around felt different. Our family is established, we've known her name since the second we found out it was a girl, and we felt called to share it. So what's the story behind Lucy? To be honest, we just like it and have liked it forever. It has been our girl name ever since we got married (I think we even talked about it pre-marriage) and we have prayed that we would get to use it one day. We feel like it flows perfectly with our last name and fits even better with her big brother's name. Joy, however, is very meaningful for 2 reasons. First, Jon's mother's maiden name is DiJoy and his Papa DiJoy has made a strong imprint on his life. Jon lived with him for a period of time and has the best memories of his papa growing up. He is still close to his papa who lives in Cleveland and we are thrilled that our little girl will carry on his name with such special meaning. Second, joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit, given to us by Jesus Christ (Galatians 5:22). Believers bear fruit when the Holy Spirit is present and at work in our hearts. It is meant to change our lives, equip us with making disciples of all nations, and share God's abounding love, grace, and mercy with others. Our prayer for Lucy is that Jesus is in her heart from such an young age and that the Holy Spirit guides her and walks with her in becoming a God centered, selfless, caring, compassionate young lady.

Thank you for loving our family and thank you for loving our little Lucy Joy!

Friday, December 5, 2014

No 2 days are the same

The thrilling and sometimes trying thing about parenthood is that no 2 days are the same. There are days where I am killin' it in the mom department (my baby is enjoyable, I've gone to the gym and playdate, I can get chores done because naptime is legit) and then there are days that just kinda suck. And those days always seem to fall on Mondays. I feel so blessed that most days are good days around here but that one bad day can really throw you into a myriad of questioning your parenting skills, your domestic and wifely duties, and even just personal esteem. That day for me was this past Monday. The day started out wonderful... Ford slept til 8... EIGHT people!...I took a morning Zumba class with a girlfriend (which I hadn't done since Ford was tiny in my belly) and we ran some errands. Post 1 hour afternoon nap, that is supposed to be at least 2 hours, is when all hell broke loose. Now that I am 5 days removed from the afternoon, I think I blocked out most of the crying, whining, screaming, holding, shushing, but it is worth mentioning because of this...

It got better.

Jon got off of work and I went into the other room and silent cried. No Ford didn't hit me or color with permanent markers on my wall... I was just emotionally bone dry. I needed to let some tears out to....well just to let them out. About an hour after Ford was down for the night I took a hot shower and had a little epiphany. I got out and went right up to Jon and said, "you know what I just realized. Sure the whining and crabby-ness is annoying but I am Ford's mom and he wants me. I am his person, his comfort, and his safe place". I've said it before that I don't do well with clingy babies, it's just not me. I LOVE cuddling with my baby and holding him and playing with him but I don't swoop in and pick him up every time he calls me (which if you have a toddler, you know it is every 10 seconds "mama!" "mommy!" "maaaamaaaa!"). There are times when he doesn't need me but just wants my attention, and there are times where he needs me. And there will be a time where he doesn't need me and even worse, doesn't want my attention. It's the long, trying, days that drain every ounce of you but also foster incredible growth as a parent. I think it's so crazy how such a little human being can bring me to tears because I just love him so much, but at the same time can bring me to tears out of frustration.

So yes, a downfall of parenthood is that no two days are the same but it is also such a sweet high of the gig, especially at the stage we are in now. Tuesday morning brought a butt load of new mercies and I can honestly say this has been one of the most fun and special weeks Ford and I have had thus far. His new thing is kissing. He's been blowing kisses and giving kisses for a while but now he is obsessed. Last night during our family Advent time, Jon was reading and he kept going back and forth between us, giving us some awesome, open mouth kisses. We sing a special night night song before bed and during the 20 seconds of it, I get about 8 kisses from him. Thank God for little things like this that make the crying, whiny, crabby Mondays worth every second. And thank God everyday is a new day in parenthood.

Shirt c/o Art Feeds

Art Feeds believes all children are artists. They exist to feed creative development and facilitate emotional expression in children through art and community. To do this, they provide free therapeutic art and creative education programs within schools and children's organizations by mobilizing teams of community members to bring all forms of art into classrooms. To learn more, visit www.artfeeds.org.

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